Listen, Slowly is a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year! This remarkable and bestselling novel from Thanhha Lai, author of the National Book Award–winning and Newbery Honor Book Inside Out & Back Again, follows a young girl as she learns the true meaning of family.
A California girl born and raised, Mai can’t wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds.
Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia and Linda Sue Park, Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale about a girl who discovers that home and culture, family and friends, can all mean different things.
This paperback edition includes a special letter from the author and a Vietnamese glossary and pronunciation guide.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautiful book about girl coming in terms with her heritage. It teaches good values and respect to one's culture. It shines a light on values and priorities, as well as on what good friendships are like. I bought this book for my niece, but promptly got another copy for my son who read it in one sitting. It allowed us to have great conversation about his heritage, languages, relationships with his friends, relationships with his family, and it also inspired us to get further educated on Vietnam -- the history, political situation, and the country today. We also ended up getting another book from Thanhha Lai.
Love a book where the teen character experiences growth in maturity. As with C. Kadohata books, the young woman is able to love and respect her grandmother and rise above being embarrassed by cultural differences that may affect how her friends see her. I think the descriptions in Viet Nam are so well written that I feel I could smell the markets and the stagnant ponds! Very interesting characters throughout and loved the friendship between Mei and Ut. This would be a great book for teachers to read aloud--grades 6 and up. Perfect for a multicultural read, also.
I personally really enjoyed this book. In my opinion, it is a perfect account of what many second-generation kids feel about going to their parent's home country. The main character, Mai/Mia, is a Vietnamese girl raised in Laguna, who has striven for a long time to become American and let go of her heritage. But she is pulled into a summer trip to Vietnam by her grandmother, and as time passes, learns to accept who she is, and to love Vietnam. The book is funny and sad simultaneously, and I would recommend it to all middle schoolers and older kids too.
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